First time buyer guide to getting on the property ladder and how to budget

Doing a new thing for the first time can sometimes be as nerve-wracking as it is exciting. When it comes to buying a home that's certainly the case.

If you stop to think about it there are so many different aspects involved - finding the right property, looking after the financial side of things, choosing the professional help you’ll need and getting on with your daily life in the meantime as well.

No wonder they say it can be one of the most stressful things you'll ever do!

In this article we’ll explain the process of buying your first home and give you an idea of the costs you can expect to have pay out too.

Even this isn't your first rodeo and you're making a move after many years of being in the same home, you should find this equally helpful.

A Big Event

Buying a home is one of life's Big Events.

Aside from the enjoyment of actually finding ‘the one’, there are also plenty of rules and regulations that have to be adhered to, hoops to jump through and boxes to be ticked.

From registering your interest in a property, getting a mortgage and dealing with various legal forms right through to planning the move day itself - there’s a lot you’ll need to do.

If you haven’t moved home in recent years you might be surprised at the level of extra detail involved today. Even if you already own a property things like money laundering laws and energy efficiency legislation apply just as much to you as they do to a first time buyer.

The Search

Looking for a new home should be an enjoyable experience. Browsing online can and should be fun, but there are other ways to find your dream home too.

Registering with an estate agent at the start of your search helps get some of the paperwork out of the way and can also mean you get the heads up on suitable homes before they even appear on property sites like Rightmove.

So you'll be ahead of the game right away...

When you do find a place you're interested in, the next step is to go and have a look at it 'in real life'. This is the magical part where you can fall in love with somewhere and immediately picture yourself living there.

Then reality bites and the more practical side of things kicks in – if you want it you’ll have to put in an offer!

The Offer

Some people love to bargain and haggle while others feel uncomfortable about doing so. When it comes to buying a home it's a part of the process in most cases, because you will be trying to agree on a price that both you and the seller are happy with.

If you’re sitting there thinking that an estate agent only has the sellers' interest at heart and simply wants a buyer who will pay the most money then you’ll be happy to know that this isn't the case - if there's no sale the agent doesn't get paid, so it's in everyone's interests to find common ground.

As a first time buyer, having your mortgage offer in place is key. You already have an advantage over some other potential buyers because you don't have a property to sell, and being 'chain-free' makes the whole process much less complicated.

It's something that both agents and sellers value highly.

If you do already have a property to sell then finding a buyer before starting your search is a really good idea. *insert link to first article 'Buy or sell first? How to secure your dream home'*

The important thing to remember is never to put an offer in that you can't afford. Always have a figure in mind that really is your 'final offer' and stick to it.

Sale Agreed

Good news! Your offer has been accepted, the property is off the market and things are moving forward.

Now this is where the real work starts.

If like most first time buyers you're taking out a mortgage, your lender will usually want to carry out a valuation survey to make sure the property is worth what you've agreed to pay for it. The cost for this is based on the value of the property and typically £250 or more, although sometimes it might be included in your mortgage deal.

Essentially, a mortgage survey is like a 'drive by' assessment. It's in your interests to consider paying for something that goes into more detail, such as a Homebuyers Report or Building Survey.

As well as letting you know if any relatively simple work needs to be done, such as damp proofing or fixing guttering or a leaky roof, it could even help you avoid buying a home that might not be all that it seems.

You’ll also need the services of a solicitor to deal with the Land Registry, local council searches and to arrange for the funds to be moved between all the parties involved.

As tempting as it might be, the cheapest option might not be the best. It's always worth asking friends for a recommendation of a solicitor they’ve dealt with. You’ll need one who has good lines of communication and answers your emails or calls promptly!

Patience Is A Virtue

After all the time, effort and emotion you've put into finding your new home, getting your ducks in a row and having your offer accepted, you should take a breather and congratulate yourself.

Depending on how busy the property market is the Land Registry will take varying times to deal with things. Sometimes you'll need to give your solicitor a nudge and a good estate agent will always be working behind the scenes to push everything forward to the benefit of both seller and buyer.

Buying a home should be a stress-free process that creates happy memories forever - register with us as a buyer and let us be your property partner for life.